Politics

Lockdown Is Not Imprisonment

South Africa is one of the countries facing the pandemic of the novela Corona Virus (Covid 19) and this led to thenational government implementing strict measures. On Monday, president Cyril Ramaphosa called for a lockdown in order to fight the current crisis.

A lockdown means citizens have to stay indoors and not be seen on the streets, however, when necessary, one can go where they “need” to go. The national government made this call to fight the pandemic faced by the country and the world as a whole. With an idea that less movement of people will lead to less infections.

On Friday, being the first day of the lockdown 55 arrests were confirmed by the police ministry. One would be convinced that these people are not willing to co-operate with government, judging by the fact that some people are turning it into an issue of race, saying it affects white people only.

Reality of the matter is that it is a virus and it must be taken seriously and that can only happen when people adhere to calls for basic hygiene and following the instructions of staying at home.

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This means one can be in their yard and not the streets. However there’s also been concerns about people being attacked by police in their own yards, forcing them to go inside the houses.

Videos of police officers and members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) manhandling people in their homes and on the streets made rounds on social networks. Such behaviour is uncalled for and it is wrong. It must be reported as violation of human rights. Speculations around the soldiers being provoked first are rife, but which part of their deployment allows beating civilians as a form of punishment?

During his address to the nation, President Ramaphosa mentioned; “individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant”. But one still stands a chance of being arrested on the way to the stores or clinic because there’s permit or proof linking to such.

A lockdown should not make citizens feel uncomfortable. Yes they need to adhere to health measures and keep following hygiene procedures but none of that must come with police brutality.

This is really not a time to fight physically but ideologically in order to beat the spread of the Covid 19 and ensure that the lockdown is a successful one.

No democracy has to experience such. Staying at home must come with freedom not fear that men and women in uniform might attack anytime.

Image Courtesy: AP Photo/Jerome Delay

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